A Comprehensive Guide to Podiatric Surgical Techniques

Podiatrists use a variety of diagnostic techniques to provide patients with accurate and effective care. These tools include physical examinations that reveal hidden structures, as well as imaging technologies and gait analysis.

Bunions are bony bumps that form when the bones in your big toe bend too far toward the smaller toes. They can be treated with non-surgical methods like shoe modifications and orthotic devices.

Foot and Ankle Surgery

Foot and ankle surgery can be a very serious operation with significant risk. However, it is often needed when non-surgical treatments are not effective. These include medications, orthotics, physical therapy, and changes to your shoewear.

Some conditions that require surgery include bunions, hammer toes, and other deformities, ankle arthritis, heel pain, and Achilles tendon problems. Surgical treatment is only an option once pain and instability are severe enough to impact a patient’s quality of life.

Ligament reconstruction surgery is performed to restore stability in the ankle when ligaments are stretched or torn. This may involve repairing the ligament itself or rerouting a tendon from another part of your foot to replace the damaged one.

Cartilage repair surgery can help relieve pain from arthritic conditions in your ankles. Using arthroscopic techniques, surgeons can remove cartilage from your ankle joint and then allow new cartilage to grow.

Fusion treatments, which involve removing the painful cartilage and compressing the ends of your bone together, can reduce pain from arthritic conditions. A triple fusion can also be performed to treat stiff feet by fusing the talonavicular, subtalar, and calcaneocuboid joints with plates or screws. Neuroma surgery involves removing benign enlargements of nerves that can cause tingling, burning, and numbness in the toes, usually between the metatarsal heads in the ball of your foot.

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Toe Surgery

Toe surgery may be required if you have a hammer toe, which is a condition where the toe stays in a curled or flexed position. The surgery may involve releasing or lengthening the tendons or removing part of the toe bone to straighten the toe. A podiatrist High Wycombe can do this through a small surgical cut in the toe or by using keyhole surgery (minimally invasive).

After your toe operation, you’ll need to avoid putting pressure on your foot for several weeks. Your doctor may use crutches or a walker to help you walk and support the toe while it heals. The toe may also need to be taped or strapped. You should expect some swelling after the surgery, which can last up to a year.

If your toe deformity is severe, the surgeon may need to fuse your toe bones together. This can cause pain and discomfort for a long time. Occasionally the bones don’t fuse properly and you may need to have further surgery.

There is a risk of infection after foot surgery, although this is rare. Occasionally a nerve may be injured during the operation, causing numbness in the toe(s). The affected toe might also become stiff or painful. This can be a result of scar tissue.

Ankle Arthroplasty

When conservative, noninvasive treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, bracing, physical therapy, and injections fail to provide relief, podiatrists can perform ankle replacement surgery. Known as total ankle arthroplasty or TAA, this procedure involves replacing the damaged bone and cartilage with artificial components. It is an excellent alternative to a fusion-type operation because it retains the ankle’s range of motion.

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podiatrist Guildford spent years mastering the complexities of the foot and ankle. That practical knowledge, combined with their theoretical expertise, has helped them contribute to the iterative process of designing and improving ankle prosthetics. This is important because ankle replacements are prone to complications such as loosening, infection, and failure to relieve pain.

Ankle replacement surgery is performed under general anesthesia or a nerve block, using a tourniquet to control bleeding and improve visualization of the operating area. The surgeon removes the arthritic surface of the ankle bone (tibia) and the top surface of the ankle bone (talus). They then place new metal joints with plastic surfaces in between the remaining bones, using a type of cement to secure them.

Patients undergoing ankle replacement surgery are typically encouraged to begin weight bearing and putting pressure on their feet as soon as possible after the procedure. They will wear a splint or use crutches while the ankle heals. They will also undergo physical therapy to regain strength in the ankle and foot.

Revision Surgery

A revision surgery can be more complicated than the initial procedure, and a surgeon’s skill plays a large role in the outcome of the operation. The goal of revision surgery is to improve the quality of life by relieving pain and increasing the range of motion. This can include removing or replacing faulty implants, surgically realigning bones and joints, or addressing issues such as nerve compression, infection, or bone loss.

During this process, your doctor will remove the original hardware and insert new implants. Depending on the condition of the pelvis and femur, he or she may need to add metal augments or bone grafts to make up for lost bone. Next, the doctor will place the revised hip cup and secure it in place with screws. Then the doctor will perform an examination to ensure proper function and a good fit.

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Patients can expect to experience similar recovery times as they did with the first operation. During this time, they will likely be placed in a brace and advised to follow weight restrictions and activity limitations. They should also attend regular follow-up appointments with their surgeon and healthcare team for monitoring of pain, swelling, and infections. In addition, it is important to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids to promote healing and prevent blood clots.

Podiatric surgical techniques encompass a wide array of procedures aimed at addressing various foot and ankle conditions, ranging from bunions and hammer toes to ankle arthritis and ligament injuries. While surgery is often a last resort after exhausting non-surgical options, it can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life by alleviating pain and restoring function. Whether it’s ligament reconstruction, cartilage repair, toe surgery, ankle arthroplasty, or revision surgery, the expertise of podiatrists is instrumental in ensuring successful outcomes. While risks such as infection and nerve injury exist, advancements in surgical methods and prosthetics continue to enhance patient care and recovery. With proper post-operative care and rehabilitation, patients can look forward to regaining mobility and enjoying a better quality of life.